Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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Prior studies suggest that language users perform motoric simulations when construing action sentences and that verbs and constructions each contribute to simulation-based representation (Glenberg & Kaschak 2002Richardson et al. 2003Bergen et al. 2007Bergen & Wheeler 2010). This raises the possibility that motorically grounded verb and construction meanings can interact during sentence understanding. In this experiment, we use the action-sentence compatibility effect methodology to investigate how a verb’s lexical-class membership, constructional context, and constructional bias modulate motor simulation effects. Stimuli represent two classes of transfer verbs and two constructions that encode transfer events, Ditransitive and Oblique Goal (Goldberg 1995). Findings reveal two kinds of verb-construction interactions. First, verbs in their preferred construction generate stronger simulation effects overall than those in their dispreferred construction. Second, verbs that entail change of possession generate strong motor-simulation effects irrespective of constructional context, while those entailing causation of motion exert such effects only when enriched up to change-of-possession verbs in the semantically mismatched Ditransitive context. We conclude that simulation effects are not isolable to either verbs or constructions but instead arise from the interplay of verb and construction meaning.


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